The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government invested the sum of N200 billion on roads in 2016. According to the minister, the amount is part of N1.2 trillion earmarked for capital projects to ensure ease of doing business.
Adeosun said this on Friday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bloomberg Chief Executive Officer roundtable held in Lagos.
She said that the N200 billion was against N90 million earmarked for road construction in 2015.
According to her, government will continue to prioritise infrastructure development to unlock growth potential.
The finance minister said that diversification of the economy would not be achieved without a good transportation system and power supply to improve ease of doing business.
She said that the country was vast, adding that to actualise its potential, infrastructure development was crucial for sustainable growth and development.
“For the past two years in Nigeria, the road had been rough in economic terms but the worst times are over and we have the opportunity to grow,’’ she said.
According to Adeosun, Nigeria cannot rely on oil to grow, as oil contributes 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and 60 per cent of the government revenue.
“We must not rely on oil but must use the oil revenue to generate activities in other sectors of the economy.
“We cannot benchmark ourselves with Saudi Arabia because their oil production was far away from us.
“They have 30 million populations and generate 10 million barrels of oil every day and Nigeria with 190 million generates 2.2 million barrels of oil every day.
She added that the country must use the oil revenue to generate and stimulate activity in other areas of the economy.
“This is encapsulated in our recent release of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).’’
The finance minister said that the country needed three things to grow, partnership with the private sector in service delivery, infrastructure development and effective revenue generation to ensure sustainable growth of the economy.
She said that government would strengthen revenue mobilisation by driving tax payment through tax collection strategy to achieve inclusive growth.
Adeosun lamented that the country had only 14 million active tax payers as against 69.9 million qualified tax payers.
“These practices harm Nigeria and this practice must stop,’’ she said.
She added that only 214 firms in the entire nation pay tax of N20 million in the country, noting that all of these companies were based in Lagos State.
“If we want to grow, we must address this and we must step on big toes,’’ Adeosun said.
She stated that more effective revenue generation and blockage of leakages were crucial to economic growth and development.